|Chris Caldwell with his mighty Henri Selmer bass clarinet|
Topsham Art Room
|Susie Hodder-Williams plays flute|
|A new sound - Emma Welton plays violin|
The concert started with the natural choice - Johann Sebastian Bach. 'Haste ye Shepherds' from the 'Christmas Oratorio' and 'Sheep May Safely Graze' from the 'Hunt Cantata'. Chris always maintains that Bach would have embraced the saxophone in his music if it had been invented earlier. To demonstrate, he played an arrangement of 'Haste ye Shepherds' for Bass saxophone.
For the fifteenth century English carol 'Nowell Syng We', Chris played finger bells gently while Susie and Emma played a simple flute and violin duet - based perhaps on Susan Nelson's 1953 recorder quartet arrangement, and very beautiful.
The thirteenth century carol 'Make we Merry, Both More and Less, For now is the Time of Christmas' from Edith Rickert's 1914 Ancient English Christmas Carols collection, introduced the jolly sound of a new instrument - the 'C' soprano clarinet. One tone higher than the standard soprano, the 'C' has a delightfully bright tone - especially in the hands of clarinet virtuoso Chris Caldwell.
|Up the scale with the 'C' clarinet|
Chris took a little time after the carols to introduce the new 'Music on the Edge' string section. Emma Welton is already well known for her work with 'Icebreaker', playing electric violin with James Poke and John Godfrey, in their 'totalist' repertoire, including Philip Glass's 'Music with Changing Parts'. Chris, familiar with the repertoire, from his work with the Delta Saxophone Quartet, was eager to give Emma a trial run when he and Susie returned from America. As soon as they heard Emma's playing - and joined in - a new trio was born.
By the way - those 'Minimal Tendencies' recordings by the Delta Saxophone Quartet are available on CD - and much more besides, from 'Music on the Edge' (link).
Just to show the wonderful potential of this new ensemble, Chris, Susie and Emma had prepared something really special. A classical masterpiece. Haydn's London Trio No 1. This was originally scored for two flutes and 'cello. Emma took on the second flute part ably, but what about the 'cello part? Cue Chris with his bass saxophone, brilliantly injecting the lowest notes. The 'cello cadenza on saxophone was outstanding, and the final booming bass note serene. The 'London Trio' was extremely well received in Topsham's Art Room!
|higher - the piccolo!|
|highest - harmonics on the double bass|
|A brilliant, brilliant performance!|
The audience were utterly spellbound - and hoping there might be just one more piece. The trio had prepared a special encore (which Chris assured them they would all recognise). They certainly did. It was 'Silent Night' for flute, violin and bass clarinet. Softly breathed and sweetly familiar, the clarinet descended to its very lowest B flat - a great arrangement using the instruments to their full potential.
A fantastic concert - and just what everyone has come to expect from the wonderful 'Music on the Edge'. What next for Chris and Susie? - They're going on a trip to the Ukraine! 'Music on the Edge will be at the seventeenth 'Two Days & Two Nights' annual international music and arts festival in Odessa on the weekend of 23rd - 25th April 2012 (details).
Music in the Art Room continues in February next year. On Saturday 4th February, Deborah Woods will be opening an exhibition of paintings and Sculptures by Roger and Margaret Dean. (Open Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from 11am to 5pm.) The exhibition runs until Sunday 4th March. To accompany this exhibition there will be 'Music in the Art Room' on Sunday 19th February. Guitar duo Alex Knight and Chris Glassfield will give a very special recital of music for two Spanish Guitars.
|International guitarist and composer|
|Devon-based Alex Knight|
has been working as a professional soloist
and accompanist for many years
performing classical, Spanish, baroque
and renaissance music
Chris and Alex have a touring duo for 6 years
Music in the Art Room
Topsham Art Room, 8A The Strand
Sunday 19 February ?6pm
Alex Knight and Chris Glassfield
Vivaldi: Concerto in D major
Bach: Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring
Chopin: Waltz in A minor
Pachelbel: Canon in D
Zequina de Abreu: Tico Tico
Kosaku Yamadaso: Akatombo
Tickets: details to follow